£105m Enterprise Zone scheme targets defence sector

Skylon Park

A £105m development opportunity in Herefordshire with the potential to support thousands of new jobs is being marketed to investors at the MIPIM property exhibition.

Skylon North Magazine and Skylon South form a significant part of Skylon Park, Hereford’s Enterprise Zone. The 70-ha business park focuses sectors including defence, security and advanced manufacturing.

The sites feature as part of the Department for International Trade’s investment portfolio for Midlands UK.

Both Skylon Park and landowner Herefordshire Council have said they are open to discussions about investment type and structure, with phasing of the investment opportunity as an option.

Managing director Mark Pearce said: “There is already considerable business interest in Skylon Park, with 55,000m² of development space built, under construction or in advanced negotiation with 34 new businesses already in occupation. Private sector investment in land and buildings is already well in excess of £30m.

“Current investors in the Park include KGD Engineering, operating in the offshore oil and gas industry, and Techtest/HR Smith, an avionics company, manufacturing advanced airborne antenna systems for commercial and military application.”

Major investment is already under way on infrastructure, services and ground preparation to provide development ready areas, including an ultrafast broadband network. Outline planning permission is already in place as part of a simplified, speedy and free process.

The North Magazine comprises 10 hectares and by early 2020 will be home to a £7m Business Incubation Centre including development space for businesses to interact with a new University being created in Hereford, specialising in engineering.

Skylon South comprises four hectares as a next phase development with immediate access onto the dedicated access road linking to the trunk road network. It will be adjoining a new £9m centre dedicated to Cyber Security business and research, sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton and due to be opened in late 2019.

Due to the proximity of the UK Special Forces base, defence supplier QinetiQ at Malvern Science Park and GCHQ at Cheltenham, the area is known for its specialism in defence and security, and the Cyber Centre will add to that asset base.

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